Your abdominal muscles, commonly known as abs, are important for several reasons. In addition to providing movement they assist in the breathing process. Together with your back muscles they provide postural support. They also serve as protection for important internal organs located within the abdomen.
- The transversus adbominis muscle is a flat, triangular muscle and its fibers run horizontally. You’ll find this muscle between your inner oblique and the underlying transversalis fascia. The transversus abdominis is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and can not be touched from the outside.
- The rectus abdominis muscles are long, flat muscles crossed by tree tendinius intersections named linae transversae. The rectus abdominis muscles are found inside a thick sheath made up by the three muscles of the lateral abdominal wall. Rectus abdominis needs to be trained to achieve the famous “six-pack” look. (Or eigth-pack since there actually four vertical sections on each side. However, the bottom sections are usually not visible since they are located right above the pubic bone.)
- The pyramidalis muscle is a small, triangular muscle found in the lower abdomen. You’ll find this muscle in front of your rectus abdominis.
The abdominal muscles work together with the back muscles, and it is important to exercise both muscle groups to achieve a good posture. Properly exercised abs and back muscles will improve your posture and reduce the risk of developing back pain.
This exercise can be carried out anywhere, because all you need to do it is your own body. It targets your abs and is suitable even for beginners.
- Place yourself flat on the floor. (Your lower back should be pressed to the floor.)
- Put your hands under your head and lift your shoulders to the crunch position.
- Lift your knees up. Your upper legs and lower legs should form a 90 degree angle together. Your lower legs should be parallel to the floor. This is the starting position for this exercise.
- Slowly move your legs as if you were pedaling a bike. Start by kicking forward with the right leg while bringing the knee of the left leg towards you. Simultaneously, position your right elbow near your left knee by crunching to the side. While doing this, breathe out.
- Return to the starting position and breathe in.
- Continue your pedaling by crunching to the opposite side while simultaneously positioning your left elbow near your right knee. While doing this, breathe out.
- Repeat point 4-6 until you have finished your desired amount of repetitions.
Take it slow and focus on carrying out all movements perfectly. You’re not actually pedaling anywhere, so don’t rush it. Pay special attention to your neck – never strain with the neck while doing this exercise.
Ab Roller Exercise
This exercise requires an ab roller. This exercise will chiefly target your abs, but your shoulder muscles will also get some exercise. Do not do this exercise if you are suffering from back problems or hernia.
- Kneel on the floor, holding the ab roller with both hands.
- Place the ab roller in front of you on the floor. Your body should be positioned in a kneeling push up position.
- Breathe in and slowly roll the ab roller straight forward on the floor, stretching your body. Go down as far as you can without letting your body touch the floor.
- Pause in the stretched position.
- Slowly pull yourself back until you’re back in the kneeling push up position. It’s important to keep your abs tight as you go back.
For a more advanced exercise that’s great for your obliques, move the ab roller diagonally to the sides instead of simply rolling it straight forward.
This exercise is great for your abs and does not require any equipment.
- Position your body as if you were about to do a normal pushup, but put your elbows and forearms on the floor and rest on your forearms. Your arms should form a 90 degree angle.
- Instead of keeping your back straight, arch it back ever so slightly. This is your starting position.
- Raise your buttocks toward the ceiling, while squeezing your abs really tight. It’s important that you use your abs to close the distance between your hips and the ribcage. While doing this, breathe out. If you’re doing this part of the exercise correctly, you will be in a high bridge position balancing on your toes and elbows/forearms.
- Slowly lower your body back to your starting position while breathing in. Do not allow your back to sag downwards.